Whether you're a workout newbie or an old pro, working out with a video game can be a great way to burn a few extra calories while having fun. But if you want to maximize the calories you burn in front of the TV, choose wisely. The reviewers at Consumer Reports tested the most popular fitness games for the Wii, Wii U, and Xbox Kinect — read on to learn more about their top choices for burning calories in the comfort of your living room.
Sweating it out at home has its perks: no annoying people to deal with, no strange germs, no gym fees, and no wasted time spent commuting. Unfortunately, there are a few things that can get in the way of a home workout, cutting your exercise time short or leading to no workout at all.
- The kitchen calls to you: Who wouldn't rather be munching on a yummy snack instead of doing push-ups? To avoid giving in to your desire to nosh, work out as far away from the kitchen as possible. If you can't see or smell the home-baked cookies on the counter, you'll be less tempted to head to the kitchen to eat one. Also be sure to eat a protein-packed snack at least an hour before you're planning on exercising to avoid hunger pangs.
- I'll just check my email real quick: You call it checking your email, but deep down, you know it's procrastination. Anything you do that involves a plugged-in device and takes "just five minutes" usually sucks you in and turns into 20 minutes or more, so by the time you're finished, you've lost your motivation to sweat. Make a "no technology" rule and swear off all devices including phones, computers, and TV, unless you're using them to help you burn calories.
- Ugh, the dishes: It seems like there are always household chores to do, whether it's laundry, unloading the dishwasher, or cleaning the bathroom. The best way to deal with these is to choose an exact time to exercise — instead of vaguely saying sometime this afternoon — and stick with it. Put it on your calendar like you would a doctor's appointment so even if the garbage needs to be taken out, it'll have to wait.
- Where'd I put my dumbbells?: If you can't find the gear you need to exercise, then it's pretty hard to work out. Designate one spot in your home for exercise (and nothing else), and keep all your fitness stuff in a crate nearby. Make it as easy to access as possible to cut down on wasted time getting it out or setting it up.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Health here on POPSUGAR Fitness.
By Jennifer Cohen
What if I told you that you're burning calories throughout the day just in your regular activities? If you can up the intensity of everyday chores, you can burn more calories throughout the day and have a clean house! Here are 10 chores that will burn 100 calories:
1. You could catch up on your DVR episodes of Mad Men, but spending that 60 minutes washing and drying a sink full of dishes like a Betty Draper-esque housewife will be much more beneficial to your calorie count. Try multitasking entertainment and chores to burn 100 calories.
2. Bored of your morning beauty routine? Pinterest a new hairstyle, because holding your arms up to blow dry, straighten, and style your hair for 35 minutes will burn off 100 calories of breakfast.
3. You really should call your mother more often. Talking on the phone while walking around the house for 35 minutes will get you brownie points and burn enough calories for a 100-calorie brownie.
4. Wouldn't that couch look better on the south wall? Moving furniture around your living room for 25 minutes is a great 100-calorie workout, especially if you have a heavy hide-a-bed in your living room.
Keep reading for five more chores that burn 100 calories.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Health here on POPSUGAR Fitness.
By Tina Haupert
No time to get to the gym? No problem! You don't need a gym full of fancy equipment to get in shape. For $50 or less, you can get enough gear for a total-body workout at home. The key is choosing pieces that are not only effective, but also work multiple body parts at once, so you maximize your workout. Here are three pieces of equipment to add to your home gym!
Did you know jumping rope torches as many calories as running? That's right, you can burn 100 calories in 10 minutes of jumping rope! Now, that's what I call a cardio workout! And a good jump rope will likely cost you less than $10. Try this workout to jump off the weight!
Using a kettlebell is guaranteed to give you a great workout from head to toe. The swing movement requires you to use your entire body — core, too! An adjustable kettlebell provides you with a variety of weight options and saves space compared to buying a whole set. Try this quick kettlebell workout to get your heart rate up!
When heading to the gym or your favorite workout studio is not an option, sweating at home can be just as effective with the right plan. The following ideas will help you burn at least 300 calories in under an hour.
Start jumping: You can't go wrong with jumping rope; 35 minutes will do the trick. If you're concerned about losing steam, move through an interval plan that consists of five minutes of jumping, alternating with one-minute rest periods; it will take a few minutes longer, but you'll keep up your momentum and enthusiasm the whole way through.
Dance it out: A high-energy dance fitness DVD like Latin Cardio Party will burn over 300 calories in under 40 minutes. Beyond a solid workout, dancing is an amazing stress buster.
Give your room a face-lift: Surprisingly, rearranging furniture can burn a ton of calories — well over 300 — in 50 minutes. This won't be an option for an everyday workout, unless you get bored with your room faster than most, but it would make for a fun weekend workout with extraproductive purpose!
Take the stairs: This is a great idea for anyone who can't afford a gym membership but lives in a tall building. The StepMill at the gym burns a ton of calories quickly, and your stairs can provide an equally tough home workout. Just 30 minutes going up and down the stairs quickly is all you need.
Transform tube time: Tune into your favorite hour-long show, but don't sit down like a couch potato. Move through a moderate calisthenics the whole way through — even through commercials. This multitasking technique will change your relationship with TV time.
*Calorie counts are based on a 130-pound woman.
Not only is an at-home workout excuse-proof, since it's free, it will only cost you calories! Check out this full-body circuit workout that fits in your living room. It takes about 20 minutes to do, and other than a chair, it requires no props.
Instructions: After warming up with light cardio for five minutes, repeat each three-exercise circuit twice, resting for 60 seconds after completing one rep of an entire circuit.
Click here to download a PDF of the workout that you can print. It looks best printed in color and fits on one page. Hang the workout up on your fridge to remind yourself to work it.
Why do we love circuit workouts? It's simple: they torch calories while building muscle. So we created this efficient full-body circuit that combines several exercises to work multiple body parts at once. And since you can easily do this workout in the comfort of your living room, it's excuse-proof, too. It takes about 20 minutes! All you need is a set of dumbbells between five and eight pounds. Even if you don't have weights, you can still give it a go.
Instructions: After warming up with light cardio for five minutes, repeat each three-exercise circuit twice, resting for 60 seconds after completing one round of an entire circuit.
Find the printable version here.
Working out at home is convenient, but if you're not careful, it's easy to phone it in. After all, the only person holding you accountable while you exercise in your living room is yourself! Don't fall into that trap — read our tips on what you should do to work out smarter at home.
Snack early: Exercising on an empty stomach can make you want to stop before you start, while sweating it out on a full one can also dampen workout goals. Eat something with simple carbs and a little protein before you change into your workout clothes so your stomach will have a few minutes to digest before you begin. We like these pre-workout snack ideas for the morning.
Know what you're going to do: Don't waste precious time deliberating about your workout for the day. Queue up the DVD, bookmark the website, or plan out your circuit before the morning so you don't have to spend minutes you could be exercising trying to figure out how to do it. You should also lay out your clothes and equipment beforehand and pick up any clutter in your workout area so you don't waste time on the hunt.
Don't rush: A quick workout is fine every once in awhile, but if your at-home workout is your exercise of choice, making it consistently challenging is the way to see results. It can be easy to choose a few extra minutes of sleep over a workout when you don't have a gym class schedule you have to follow, but don't give in to the snooze button so much that your daily workout becomes just a few prework minutes.
Mix it up: Cold days can mean weeks working out at home, so don't neglect one part of your fitness routine in favor of the workout that's most convenient or easiest for you to do at home. Your fitness routine should include a mix of cardio, strength training, and stretching — and you should keep a few different types of workouts on hand so you can switch it up throughout the week. Here are a few home workout ideas to try:
If you're new to yoga, getting hands-on attention from a teacher is the best way to build a strong foundation, but if you're strapped for cash, it's still possible to build a solid yoga practice. Doing yoga at home can be a beautiful gift to yourself, but keeping a consistent practice can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Both seasoned students and newbies alike can benefit from these tips for creating a sustainable home practice.
Start slow: There's no need to dive into a 45-minute sequence from the get-go; start with just 15 or 20 minutes when first creating your home practice. You'll be more likely to stay committed to your new routine if the length of your practice doesn't seem so daunting. Get started with our 20-minute total-body yoga sequence.
Timing's everything: Every day, do your best to hit your mat at the same time. Whether it's first thing in the morning or once you're home from work, a stable routine will train your mind to crave a regular practice time. You also won't have the excuse about where to find the time to practice if it's seamlessly built into your busy schedule.
Pick poses wisely: A great yoga teacher once told me to choose two poses I love and one I hate when building a practice at home. The ones you love will have you feeling confident and graceful, but the ones we hate are the ones our bodies need the most!
Create a sacred space: Make a sweet home for your practice. Whether it's a corner of your bedroom, a section on your living room floor, or even your back porch, find a place where you'll have ample room for your mat and for fluid movement. Consider lighting a candle or two to kick up the ambience a notch. See tips for setting up a yoga space at home here.
Try a DVD: If you can't afford studio prices right now, find a DVD that matches your skill level. The Tara Stiles Is Yoga DVD Set ($20) is truly suitable for all levels: the set comes with four DVDs with helpful instruction and thoughtful sequencing. Our 10-minute yoga sequences from Ursula Vari and Exhale Spa or this 20-minute lower-body practice from Sadie Nardini will also work well in a home yoga plan.